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Are there too many similar posts at the moment?

I tend to read blogs in moments snatched away from other bits of my life.  Trying to read whilst the train rushes between areas of signal on its way to and from work, catching up whilst waiting to go into a meeting, reading before heading to bed if the Smalls have decided that they feel like sleeping.

Mostly I love reading blogs – the insights into other people’s lives, the funny, the poignant, the glimpse into how other people do things.  I love the feeling of being involved in a community and of following my friends and seeing what they are doing, of commenting and engaging with new friends.

But recently my blog feed has been a bit cluttered.

A bit less interesting.

A bit dull.

For some reason over the last couple of weeks there have been a whole raft of reviews and sponsored posts.

Yes there have been some lovely, normal, interesting, engaging posts, but there have been an awful lot of ones that aren’t and its getting hard to see the wood for the trees.

And you see, I’m sorry, but once I’ve read one review I’m unlikely to read any more.

And a lot of these products aren’t really that interesting to me and a turn off.

Yes its great that so many people have enjoyed reviewing a certain CD  but I’m no more likely to buy it because half a hundred of you have said its nice.

In fact, I’m probably going to miss the good content on your blog because I’ll just hit ‘mark read’ rather than waste time reading them.

In fact it seems that some people are doing little but reviews at the moment – great if you’re a review site but not so great if you haven’t flagged yourself as such, I’m likely to unsubscribe and turn off.

There are some people who write funny / engaging / interesting reviews but let’s be honest, they are fairly few and far between.

I don’t do a lot of reviews – I only pick up on things that are of interest to me, that are a bit different.  And yes, perhaps I’m in a lucky position that I don’t have to do reviews.

Please people consider who is reading your blog – if you want us to carry on reading you need to post stuff that we want to engage with.  And trust me, it needs to be unique, interesting and not another identikit review of exactly the same thing that everyone else is posting about this week.  Trust me.

So what do you think?

Are there too many reviews around at the moment?

Have the PRs finally gone too far and saturated the blogging universe?

Or should I just mark all as read and go off and find something better to do with my time?

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50 comments to Are there too many similar posts at the moment?

  • I think a lot of bloggers are finding their feet with the all the reviewing. PRs have gone slight OTT on the run up to Christmas. I write one personal and one review blogger so its easier for me to keep it separate. Most readers know that New Mummy’s Tips is a review blog.

    I think it will settle down soon and there won’t so many of the same reviews and people will learn how to have a balance on their blogs.

    • Muddling Along

      I agree – the PRs do seem to have gone totally ott. It’s like a rash of identical posts

      And it’s just so dullnto read, especially if you don’t have s lot of time

  • I confess I have unsubscribed from loads of blots for that very reason recently. I really hesitated, but decided life is too short!

  • blots quite funny too though julie!

    I am so glad you wrote this Muddling as I thought it was just me!

    • Muddling Along

      I’m glad it’s not just me – I wasn’t sure whether to post this but gosh I’m getting sick of CD reviews and the 12 days of Christmas makes me shudder

  • MTJAM

    I like the twelve days of Christmas – it’s getting me in the festive mood 🙂 I figure it’s my blog and I write it for me, so I’ll put what I want on there. I like to mix reviews up amongst my funny posts and my sad ones – it’s all part and parcel of what I like to write. I think there’s skill in writing a good review post and I enjoy the challenge.

  • I’ve been barely getting to my laptop to write blog posts let alone review anything. One thing I think bloggers might think about is how the products/services they’re reviewing fit with their blog brands! It’s not a bad thing to be really picky about who you’ll write about. Hopefully part of your selection process will be considering whether it’s of interest to your readers!

    • Muddling Along

      I agree – especially when some of the campaigns are ill thought out or very tedious (12 days of Next posts across x blogs? Mark as read)

      Yes I know people are using reviews to make ends meet but there has to be other stuff to keep us reading / following or they won’t get the PR opportunities

  • I do them as money is very tight at home and to be honest, I will do anything to keep me at home with my boys rather than out to work and miss picking them up from school. Does this make me a sell out, yes I suppose it does, but I would ask people to walk a mile in my shoes and then make their decision. I have done more than normal, but that is partly due to Christmas coming and my MOT being due! I am trying to keep the majority of the reviews off my site and am doing them on The Great Toy Guide or Mummy Reviews.

    • Muddling Along

      Jen yours is one where I haven’t really noticed and I do understand about the money

      That said I wonder if some bloggers realise what a turn off it is and that without their readers they are unattractive to brands – you need an audience for these and there won’t be an audience without good content

  • I agree totally. I have removed blogs for all PR and no content. What I don’t get is why do the PR’s contact these bloggers that do nothing but PR – surely the power is to do a PR post in context of a “real” blog. It loses it’s effect when people aren’t reading that blog or when it is on so many blogs that noone reads them. I Tweeted yesterday the same message. I want snow pictures. I want to know how people are doing. I am fed up of PR posts. I have done very few myself and now I don’t do them at all unless they are really special or very much aligned with who I am and what I am about (if it was an iPad PR of course I Would do it!)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hannah, Hannah. Hannah said: Is it just me losing my blogging (& reading) mojo or is your g-reader stream a bit samey too? http://www.muddlingalongmummy.com/?p=567 […]

  • Oh, yes! *applauses loudly*
    I don’t mind the odd review post, but as you say the appeal in personal blog reading is the *personality* in the blog. I’ve been dumping swathes of posts in my reader too – I write reviews for a living, I (and, I think, many others) want my blog reading to be filled with funny, sad, interesting but most of all personally CONNECTING posts.
    It was bound to happen – the flux will settle as the PR’s figure out a blanket approach isn’t necessarily best, and quality reviews by a chosen few are actually a more successful marketing approach. Plus, of course, the novelty of new ‘stuff’ will wear off for many before too long. A few years ago I used to grab every review I could – now I hand out as many as possible, and simply edit the reviews which come in handily researched and written for me 🙂

  • Thanks for this post, it’s something I’ve noticed too. I’m wondering if eventually the bubble will burst on blog reviews. I rarely see a bad one and don’t think a review can be completely unbiased when youre getting free stuff! I’ve done one but only as I thought the product should be shared. I sometimes get sad that review blogs have so many followers and are fairly dull and and pouring my heart and soul and literary wit into mine with not even half the amount of readers! Ah, alas, will keep trucking 😉 xxx

    • Muddling Along

      I think at some point people have to realise that its a turn off to see them – that we want to engage with funny, interesting people and whilst we all understand the odd freebie is nice there is a point at which you diminish your brand and push people away

  • I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I just skip ALL of them. Ah well. It does really annoy me when a sponsored post is not clearly marked, and I’ve read half the thing before I notice. I think everyone can do what they like, but as you said it does make for a less interesting blog.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t mind doing some reviews for
    *two week long vacations in the sun for families of five, flights included
    *fancy laptops
    *family skiing holidays
    *local villas
    Do I need to add that all the above should come free to us?

  • Stefanie

    I have been thinking the very same thing, practically every post I have read this morning has been about the 12 days of Christmas and they have all been deleted without reading! Hopefully once Christmas is over we’ll see a return to some more original posts that aren’t on the same topic as everyone else’s.

  • Yes.

    And zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

    You know where I am coming from anyway.

    LCM x

  • I’m with LCM. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • I think I am a bit guilty of this myself – oops!
    I am doing the 12 Days of Christmas thing at the moment and I know so many of us are but I don’t think you should just dismiss them all as being samey – actually I have seen so many takes on the Next thing and hey, I’m in it for the rewards just like so many other bloggers are but I am using it to tie in with my own Christmas posts that I would have done anyway. The fact that I may be ‘rewarded’ by Next is just a much needed bonus at this time of the year. It is still *my* blog and very much *my* posts.

    • Muddling Along

      I think, especially with the 12 days posts, is I see the icon and just scroll past – I’m grabbing 10 mins here and there and already don’t want to read another ‘and on the 1st day Next gave me…’. I realise I’m going to miss some good stuff but I’m also going to avoid lots – just think 100 bloggers, doing a couple of posts each, that’s 200-300 posts – shudder

      Perhaps time to put up a reviews section – keep the traffic that loves your content and let them decide if they fancy popping over for a look (and link over when you’ve done stuff?), surely better to keep people engaged?

      • I do totally see where you are coming from. I’m actually having a bit of a blog make-over in the new year and I am going to have a reviews section for this very reason!
        And with regards to the Next thing – I knew how many people were involved from the off so I was expecting that it would be at the risk of alienating some readers but I couldn’t turn down the potential rewards if I’m being completely honest! I still must add though that my posts are not all actually about Next as such, they are *my* Christmas posts with a little Next footnote.
        I’ll shut up now – sorry! x

  • I’m definitely one of those guilty of what you’re saying but I hope I try and make it current and relevant to what’s going on in our lives. I actually feel guilty about the posts but am surprised that quite often the sponsored posts or reviews actually get more comments than some of the other ones. I need the money to be honest and I know that I am doing too many at the moment. 🙁

    • Muddling Along

      I totally get that people need the money, especially at this time of year but with the limited time I have I do find myself just hitting all read rather than scrolling down to find something to engage with

      Partly the PRs are to blame scatter bombing the market but there has to be a point where its saturated and starts to backfire?

  • You my friend have made a good point x

  • I don’t mind the reviews, but I don’t read them either. And I do feel a little disappointed when I see a new post and then realise it is a review…

  • I was thinking about a game of how many Next blogs and free fridges posts can you find. Winner gets one of The Beautiful Children and I’ll even let you choose which one.

    What more could you ask for at Christmas? Every home should have a petulant teen!

  • I think I have ruined my blog somewhat with reviews, however it’s a double edged sword as it has helped us a lot. There is also the blatant fact on my blog that its the reviews that actually bring the readers in i’ve never had a lot of comments or anything and I know that only about 8 people tend to read on a regular basis, but on some days I am getting up to 200 visits and when you look at the stats is purely down to brilliant Google indexing. Trouble is that with a lot of this it’s what a mate of mine calls a ‘circle wank’. If you comment on a particular blog a PR becomes aware of you and therefore you get on their lists. It’s the same with the way Wikio is indexed, its all to do with linking between people the higher they are.

    Come and click on my Next link- I fancy my share of a thousand squids worth of vouchers as I could do with a new pair of curtains and some boots- lol. I tried to make it an interesting educational post…

    Love the new blog H. looks fab 🙂 x

    • Muddling Along

      Thank you – you see with yours I ignore most of the reviews unless something I care about but I know that the other stuff is good

  • I’m not clicking on any of the Next posts at all. Not even the ones from some of my favourite blogs. And I may well be missing out there, because I know these people can turn something dull into bucketfuls of laughter, but, meh. I have a thousand unread items in my Reader, I don’t want the ones I’m spending time reading to be the same.

    I try to spread my reviews thinly – or do a bunch in one day and then finish with a ‘proper’ post, so that the reviews kind of disappear (they’re still there for the search engines, but no-one has to read them if they don’t want to). And I turn A LOT down, too. I don’t have time to write the darned things, let alone read them. When reading, I’ll click on a review if it’s about something that I’m thinking of buying and that’s about it.

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly the same here-so I may miss stuff but hey I also miss several dull posts

      With you in the reviews – I do a few but generally prefer not to not least became of the time needed

  • Carnival Time | badFiction

    […] a question for you, are there too many similar posts at the moment? That’s what Muddling Along Mummy wants to […]

  • Claire (The Bump Wear Project)

    Thanks for submitting this to the carnival. See: xx

  • Hi there – de-lurking to say how much this resonates with me. My particular issue is with the bloody Toys R Us toylologists. That badge is just everywhere at the moment, and it really surprises me – Toys R Us is the very last place I’d go for interesting Christmas presents for my children. I used to live around the corner from one of the London branches and found it just the most depressing toy shop in the universe.

  • sorry that should be toyologists – my need to vent got the better of my typing.

  • Not sure how I missed this? I have never been quiet about my disdain of lots of reviews and even more so the sponsored post. If people are going to do so many then they should have a separate blog for them or at least only accept ones that have some relevance to you or your blog.

    I recently went through my reader and painstakingly unfollowed anyone with a Ratio of 1:1 (one review to one normal), a few were as high as 4:1. Yes it’s xmas, yes there are bills to pay, but no-one started their blog to pay the bills.

    It’s OK to do the odd review (although don’t gush about EVERY product, it makes you very insincere) and sponsored post (I’d prefer if you said upfront instead of at the end) but get some quality content in there as well.

  • I missed out on the Next one and the little girl in me felt all left out but in hindsight I am glad.

    Also on the ToysRus thing, I purposely did not enter that competition to become one of their testers as frankly where is the time coming from!

    I do some reviews and I still do lots of me posts, I’m happy with that.

    Mich x

  • Guilty of doing 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways but never EVER AGAIN (unless paid enough). It’s been bloody knackering but it’s given me a great insight into what’s popular and what isn’t. I did however seek out prizes from my own contacts and with a couple of exceptions in the 12 have got things unique to my blog. The H e i n z prize only went on in desperation when a top retailer who has not used blogs for publicity before changed their minds at the very last minute.

    With the repetitive material you get a similar thing on food blogs, whether it’s a carnival type event where everyone is cooking identical dishes on the same date or loads of people are reviewing some cool restaurant that has just opened. But the material is there forever and when people are searching for specific stuff later on, they’ll be glad of several opinions to compare.

    On sponsored posts i.e. Ebuzzing I try to coincide these with a normal post so that the Ebuzzing post isn’t on the home page for very long and people looking in the RSS can skip over it and read my normal post if they want. I just think of it like fast forwarding through ad breaks!

  • Emily O

    You’ve echoed what I’ve been thinking. I’ve done a lot of reviews recently and most of the time it’s because I’ve been offered something nice (found it hard to turn down a lovely pushchair) and I feel each product fits with my blog. That said, I really don’t want my blog to become too commercial and I think I’ve done too many reviews recently. That’s partly the reason I’ve also branched out into a parenting site because I think websites can get away with being commercial with ads, promotions, etc. For me a blog is more personal and people read because they want to hear about what you’ve been up to and share in your experiences. I think people who’ve separated out the review side like New Mummy have done it well. And New Mummy is right, PR contact has gone crazy recently and it’s so tempting to go with it all. But you don’t want to compromise your blog otherwise it’s self-defeating. Great post.

    • Muddling Along

      I agree the PRs have been crazy recently and its really hard to turn down good offers – I think its about balance and I guess once we get past the Christmas period things will calm down

  • I’m probably very guilty of over-reviewing things but hope I have a happy balance. I started out by only posting reviews at weekend and then only once a week. I did get a bit snowed under on the run up to Christmas but then I started to ask the PR’s for an equivalent to give away too – I believe that if my readers are forced to read through what I’ve written then there should be some sort of benefit at the end 😉

    I believe I’ve got the balance right at the moment but always, ALWAYS, invite comments and feedback to tell me if I’ve got it wrong. I always try to pick reviews/sponsored posts that I think fit in with my readers too. There’s no point in me writing about something that is going to turn my readers away.

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